Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

From Lodwar, Kenya – The Poverty of the West and the Riches of the South


Originally uploaded by dream awakener

So my blogs will probably not be as frequent for the next two weeks, because I’m blogging from small town in the Northern part of Kenya. Our churches in Los Angeles have “sister churches” that we are partnered with in Lodwar, Kenya. We help to support orphans through the Unembraced, and with the Solis Foundation we give small business grants so that people can start or re-start businesses and support their families.

Through this partnership and ministries we share with these churches, I am always struck by how rich the church in Africa is and how often we in the West are blind to our own poverty, because in many ways, we have been shaped to believe that we are what we possess.

So how is the church in Africa richer than the Western church?

I think they tend to be richer in community, because in order to survive, they need to live interdependently. I think they are richer in prayer because people who suffer tend to cry out to God in primal ways, they cry out from their gut in honest ways. They have more time to pray because they are less distracted. They also tend to be richer in worship. They often worship with no inhibitions. No wonder the scriptures say that the poor are rich in faith. Life in many ways demands they live by faith from day to day.

I remember Darryl Guder sharing once about how a man from Africa came to speak to him in his office. At Princeton, if you get accepted, they pay for your school and give you a small stipend as well. So they guy from Africa says, “Professor Guder, I need to tell you that I feel I am losing my faith in God”.

Guder says, “Why is that?”

This guy says, “Because I don’t have to trust God for anything anymore. All my needs are met for the whole year, and so I think I am about to lose my faith.”

If you live in the West, when was the last time you had to trust God to meet your basic needs everyday? When was the last time you had to trust God in prayer for healing because you could not afford to pay for a doctor? When was the last time you had to trust God?

As I observe my brothers and sisters here in Lodwar, I realize how much trust [faith] they display in God from day to day. When it comes the deeper things in life, who is rich? There is more to be said, but I’m about to lose my connection.  What is your thoughts?

5 Responses to From Lodwar, Kenya – The Poverty of the West and the Riches of the South

  1. Peter Davis says:

    JR, good news! Our wedding photography auction just ended and an awesome couple won bidding $1600! I don’t know if you’ll see this comment or get my email while you’re gone, but I wanted to share the news. We’ll be in touch because the couple is talking about ways they can actually raise more for The Unembraced than what they’re already giving by having us shoot their wedding! God bless as you continue your trip.

  2. MORE MORE MORE PLEASE! Great news about the photo auction! Keep safe and please send updates when you can.

  3. jrwoodward says:


    That is great to hear! I know the orphans here will be glad to know that. I look forward to connecting with you upon my return. The connection out here is weak.

  4. JR,
    I’ve noticed the same kind of richness as I’ve traveled other places. But reminders like this are helpful to see the bankruptcy around me — thanks for taking the time to post these thoughts.

  5. nancy e says:

    God Bless your journey, J.R.!
    I’m excited that you are experiencing (and serving!) God’s precious ones in our part of the world! Thank you, for traveling across the world to serve the Lord, by serving ‘the least of these.’ In doing so, you have the amazing privilege of experiencing a mind-blowing God who is so incredibly much more than our finite minds can ever contain. I pray that you are enjoying the awesomeness of our Lord, as you see the diversity of His creation around you. If your team is ever in Cairo, let us know!
    With Praise,
    nancy esposito

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